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Sedum morganianum (Burro’s tail): characteristic and caring guide

The sedum plants or succulents are popular among domestic growers because they are plant requiring little care and produce many satisfactions. One of them and belonging to this very broad family is known as the donkey’s tail , Sedum morganianum .

Its characteristic name comes from the shape of its stems, of a creeping type and that can exceed more than 50 cm in length. Hence, a very common use of this plant is to arrange it in hanging pots , creating a very curious ornamental effect with dozens of curly stems falling from the pot.

This plant is typical of hot climatic zones , typical of Central America. However, it is also extended to many other areas due to its wide range of temperatures, including in Spain.

In the genus of succulent plants Sedum  we find more than 350 well-differentiated plant references, but one of the best known is Sedum morganianum.

CHARACTERISTICS OF SEDUM MORGANIANUM (DONKEY’S TAIL PLANT)

One of the main characteristics of most succulents, such as the donkey’s tail plant, is that they are species that store water very well and display their stems and leaves throughout the year (evergreen species).

The highlight of Sedum morganianum is the shape of its stems, with a very striking shape and great length and creeping bearing , a fact that has characterized its name. However, this plant also emits small flowers that create a fantastic contrast to the greenery of its stems.

Therefore, the main uses of the donkey’s tail plant are ornamental, mainly grown in pots in environments with cooler winters. In more thermally stable areas, it is common to create a rockery garden with these types of plants, very resistant to temperatures and drought.

FLOWERING

The donkey’s tail plant emits small pink flowers from spring , lasting during the first half of summer. For this, it needs stimuli with a lot of light and good fertilization conditions.

These flowers usually appear at the end of the stems, as if it were the end of their fingers.

TAXONOMY

  • Order: Saxifragales
  • Family:  Crassulaceae
  • Genus:  Sedum
  • Species: Sedum morganianum

Common names: donkey’s tail, sheep’s tail, burrito, lamb, gypsy braid or Indian braid.

HOW TO CARE FOR  SEDUM MORGANIANUM IN POTS

At this point, we are going to present the main points to take care of our Sedum morganianum hanging plant on our terrace, balcony or porch. However, if you are lucky enough to have pleasant thermal conditions for most of the year, you can also transplant it to the ground.

WHERE TO LOCATE THE DONKEY’S TAIL PLANT

Like most succulent species, they appreciate temperatures above 18ºC and good light conditions. Regarding the latter, it is preferable in the middle of summer to place our Sedum morganianum in semi shade, since excess sun exposure ends up extinguishing the original green of the plant and can cause burns.

In winter, it is advisable to place it in a protected environment , introducing it indoors if temperatures drop below 10 ºC, although it could withstand a little more cold, but never freezing exposures below 0 ºC.

BEST SUBSTRATE OR TYPE OF SOIL

As a species of the Crasulaceae family , it needs the best possible draining substrate , so we must forget about using only universal peat formats. It is necessary to incorporate mixtures of coarse sand, vermiculite or perlite, very draining forms, to avoid the classic root rot typical of this plant.

If you don’t want to get too complicated, count on the fact that there are substrates specially designed for succulents, although it really is not very difficult to prepare it on our own:

  • 50% universal substrate
  • 25% coarse sand
  • 25% vermiculite or perlite

If we talk about growing our donkey’s tail plant in permanent soil, it prefers slightly acidic environments (pH 5-6.5) and with very good drainage (practically sandy texture). If it is grown in a rockery garden, it should be located at a certain height to allow its long stems to fall down the wall or wall.

HOW TO WATER SEDUM MORGANIANUM

One of the biggest failures in growing succulents such as Sedum morganianum is the excess water . The rule of applying water only 50% of what we think is practically fulfilled.

This ornamental plant is very resistant to drought , watering only when the substrate is completely dry, since it is its natural means of survival. This genus of plants has the genetic ability to store a lot of water in its stems, thus achieving magnificent survival in extreme climates.

An approximate irrigation table can be the following:

  • Watering in spring and summer: water 1 or 2 times every 7 days, 1/5 of the volume of the pot and always with the substrate perfectly dry.
  • Watering in autumn and winter: water 1 time every 15 days, 1/5 of the volume of the pot.

More important than the frequency of water application is the quantity, since your root system is not prepared to develop in conditions of low oxygenation or in waterlogged conditions. Therefore, it controls the amount of water applied very well , not so much the frequency of application.

FERTILIZER APPLICATION

It is recommended, at the beginning of spring and just before flowering, to recover the nutritional reserves of the plant with the contribution of fertilizers. For this type of plants, liquid fertilizers are usually recommended, which are very convenient to apply together with the irrigation water.

Sedum morganianum consumes enough nitrogen to develop longer stems and produce a green color thanks to chlorophyll, so a recommended nutrient ratio is a 3-1-2 NPK. Phosphorus is important to maintain a strong root system and applying potassium is an excellent strategy to maintain plant hydration.

Do not forget to choose fertilizers with some micronutrients, especially iron , to avoid iron chlorosis .
  • Cactus Batlle Fertilizer is a highly absorbed and fast response nutrient complex, formulated with high amounts of magnesium and a fair proportion of iron.
  • Plants more resistant to fungal diseases as well as avoiding undesirable neck rot
  • Dose: Apply as root fertilizer, diluting 5ml of fertilizer per liter of water

TRANSPLANT AND PRUNING

If we grow it in hanging pots, we will transplant Sedum morganianum when we see the roots poking through the holes in the base or there is no plant surface to cover on the edges of the pot.

We can carry out this operation before sprouting, at the end of winter or early spring.

To regulate their growth and avoid excessively long stems, we can eliminate them by pruning, in early spring, where you will also need a general cleaning of dry stems, dried flowers, etc.

CONTROL OF PESTS AND DISEASES

Succulent species are quite sensitive to the cottony mealybug, which tends to settle on the main stems, absorb the plant’s sap and slowly weaken it. They are immobile and white in color, so their easy contrast with the green of the plant will lead you to quickly identify them.

If you have few plants, this pest can be easily removed with a damp cloth, although if you want to do it by spraying, you can apply potassium soap at 5 ml / L on them, repeating every 3/5 days until the pest is finished.

Excess water favors the development of fungi that live in low oxygen conditions, such as Phytophthora,  a species that affects the root and neck of the plant and that has a difficult solution, applying different forms of copper as a preventive.

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